Derek Kraus overcame Mother Nature to sweep both races of a doubleheader at Tucson Raceway on Saturday and take over the lead in the championship standings of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin dominated the first of the twin 100-lap races – leading the event wire-to-wire in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. He took command of the second race just past the midway point and pulled away for the victory.
“We had a really good NAPA Toyota going into the first race,” said Kraus, who started second on the grid. “There was a little bit of unknown with the rain here in Tucson. Overall, it was a good first race.
“The second race we had to work a little bit harder,” he said. “We didn’t lead until the second half of the race. It was definitely more challenging than the first race.”
While other drivers were charging hard, Kraus chose to save his tires in the second race.
“They wore them out and in the end we took advantage of that,” he said of his competition.
The start of the first race was delayed by a thundershower that swept through the area. Rain also fell after the race, pushing back the start of the second race.
Kraus has won two of four races this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and two of four races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He leads the points in both divisions.
He shared the spotlight in the second race with his rookie teammate at BMR, Brittney Zamora – who won her first career series pole award and came away with a third-place finish in the No. 99 ENEOS / NAPA Filters Toyota Camry in just her fourth career series start.
“This is a good start to our season,” said Zamora, a 20-year-old from Kennewick, Washington. “Thanks to BMR, ENEOS Motor Oil, NAPA, Toyota, the Davis Group and my entire crew. They worked so hard all weekend.”
Zamora, who topped the speed chart in final practice earlier in the day, started third in the first race and finished fifth. She led from the pole in the early laps of the second race and after slipping back to third, charged back into the lead. She battled hard throughout the event to come home third.
BMR’s Hailie Deegan was also in contention in both events, but ran into problems in the second race. The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Temecula, California started fifth in the first race and waged a successful challenge in her No. 19 Monster Energy/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota to grab third in the closing laps. She also started fifth in the second race. Despite dropping some positions early, she fought her way into the top three and into contention – but an incident following a restart in the second half of the event left her with handling issues.
Kraus has two wins, three top-five and four top-10 finishes in four starts this season. He leads the K&N West championship standings by 18 points. He leads the K&N East standings by four points.
Deegan is fourth in the K&N West standings, 23 points out of first. She has one win and three top- five finishes in four starts.
Zamora is second in the rookie points and fifth in the overall championship standings, 29 points out of the lead. She has two top-five and three top-10 finishes.
The two wins by Kraus give BMR 95 overall victories in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
NAPA and ENEOS were well represented at Tucson, with plenty activities and sponsor activation centered on the big doubleheader event. BMR hosted a group of NAPA guests from Phoenix and Tucson. Guests from ENEOS, part of a special sales drive, were also in attendance.
The two Tucson races will be televised on NBCSN at 1 and 4 p.m. on May 22.
The next event on the K&N West schedule will be at Colorado National Speedway north of Denver on June 8.
Bill McAnally Racing PR